Risk Factors and Mitigation Strategies for Pancreatic Fistula after Distal Pancreatectomy: Analysis of 2026 Resections from the International, Multi-institutional Distal Pancreatectomy Study Group

Academic Article


  • Objective: To identify a clinical fistula risk score following distal pancreatectomy. Background: Clinically relevant pancreatic fistula (CR-POPF) following distal pancreatectomy (DP) is a dominant contributor to procedural morbidity, yet risk factors attributable to CR-POPF and effective practices to reduce its occurrence remain elusive. Methods: This multinational, retrospective study of 2026 DPs involved 52 surgeons at 10 institutions (2001-2016). CR-POPFs were defined by 2016 International Study Group criteria, and risk models generated using stepwise logistic regression analysis were evaluated by c-statistic. Mitigation strategies were assessed by regression modeling while controlling for identified risk factors and treating institution. Results: CR-POPF occurred following 306 (15.1%) DPs. Risk factors independently associated with CR-POPF included: age (<60 yrs: OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.05-1.82), obesity (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19-2.12), hypoalbuminenia (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.06-2.51), the absence of epidural anesthesia (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.17-2.16), neuroendocrine or nonmalignant pathology (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.18-2.06), concomitant splenectomy (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.25-3.17), and vascular resection (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.25-3.17). After adjusting for inherent risk between cases by multivariable regression, the following were not independently associated with CR-POPF: method of transection, suture ligation of the pancreatic duct, staple size, the use of staple line reinforcement, tissue patches, biologic sealants, or prophylactic octreotide. Intraoperative drainage was associated with a greater fistula rate (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.51-3.78) but reduced fistula severity (P < 0.001). Conclusions: From this large analysis of pancreatic fistula following DP, CR-POPF occurrence cannot be reliably predicted. Opportunities for developing a risk score model are limited for performing risk-adjusted analyses of mitigation strategies and surgeon performance.
  • Published In

  • Annals of Surgery  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 26168311
  • Author List

  • Ecker BL; McMillan MT; Allegrini V; Bassi C; Beane JD; Beckman RM; Behrman SW; Dickson EJ; Callery MP; Christein JD
  • Start Page

  • 143
  • End Page

  • 149
  • Volume

  • 269
  • Issue

  • 1